‘Brain dead’ school shooting victim removed from life support

A teenage girl was brain dead days after being shot when a classmate opened fire inside their Maryland high school and was to be removed from life support, her mother said Thursday.

Melissa Willey told news reporters Thursday night that her daughter, 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey had “no life left in her.” She said Jaelynn would be removed from life support during the evening, by the family’s decision.

The mother, holding a young baby, said, “On Tuesday … our lives changed completely and totally forever. My daughter was hurt by a boy who shot her in the head and took everything from our lives.”

The teen was shot Tuesday by 17-year-old Austin Rollins at Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County.

Rollins died after shooting Willey. A school resource officer got there within a minute and fired a shot at Rollins, but it’s not yet clear whether Rollins was killed by the officer’s bullet or took his own life.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday Rollins and the girl had been in a relationship that recently ended.

“All indications suggest the shooting was not a random act of violence,” police said in a statement.

Willey had been in critical condition at the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center. A fundraising page to help her family has raised more than $59,000.

Jaelynn was one of nine siblings, her mother said, and a member of the swim team.

The shooting broke out just before classes were to begin Tuesday, according to the sheriff’s office, which said the gun used belonged to Rollins’ father.

A 14-year-old boy who was shot in the thigh during the encounter was released Wednesday from a hospital.

In an email Thursday to The Associated Press, his mother, Kimberly Dennis, said her family is “eternally grateful” that her son, Desmond Barnes, is “alive, doing well and in good spirits.”

She expressed sympathy for Willey and her family and added, “We are also praying for the entire Great Mills High School family and young people around this country. As a community and nation, we must continue to work and fight for a world that is safe for our children.

Great Mills High School has about 1,600 students and is near the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, about 65 miles (104 kilometers) southeast of Washington.

St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron credited Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill with preventing any more loss of life.

Cameron said Gaskill, a six-year veteran with SWAT team training, responded within a minute and fired his weapon simultaneously with a final shot fired by Rollins. The officer was unharmed.

On Wednesday, authorities said the Glock handgun used in the shooting was legally owned by Rollins’ father. In Maryland it is illegal for anyone under age 21 to possess a handgun unless it is required for their employment.

___

This story has been updated to correct that authorities say the school resource officer fired a shot at Rollins, not at the female victim.

___

Associated Press contributors include David McFadden, Courtney Columbus and Sarah Rankin.

great mills high - 'Brain dead' school shooting victim removed from life support
Deputies, federal agents and rescue personnel, converge on Great Mills High School, the scene of a shooting, Tuesday morning, March 20, 2018 in Great Mills, Md. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
great mills high1 - 'Brain dead' school shooting victim removed from life support
Police move students into a different area of Great Mills High School, the scene of a shooting, Tuesday morning, March 20, 2018 in Great Mills, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon )
great mills high3 - 'Brain dead' school shooting victim removed from life support
A mother walks her daughter, a student from Great Mills High School, to the car as she picks her up from Leonardtown High School in Leonardtown, Md., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. A teenager wounded a girl and a boy inside his Maryland high school Tuesday before a school resource officer was able to intervene, and each of them fired one more round as the shooter was fatally wounded, a sheriff said. St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said the student with the handgun was declared dead at a hospital, and the other two students were in critical condition. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
great mills high2 - 'Brain dead' school shooting victim removed from life support
Two students and a mother leave Great Mills High School, the scene of a shooting, Tuesday morning, March 20, 2018 in Great Mills, Md. The shooting left at least three people injured including the shooter. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon )

About AP

Associated Press (AP) is an American multinational nonprofit news agency headquartered in New York City that operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association.
View all posts by AP →